§ Mr. Hilary Benn
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the contribution that the planting of trees could make to meeting the United Kingdom's Kyoto targets on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. 
§ Mr. Mullin
New planting of trees has taken place at a rate of 15,000 to 20,000 hectares per year since 1990 as a result of Government policy on woodland expansion. The present rate of increase in tree cover is likely to contribute about 0.25 per cent. towards the commitment under the Kyoto protocol.
It would be possible to increase this proportion by accelerating the rate of new planting. Policies and initiative schemes whereby this might be achieved are under consideration by the Government Departments responsible. The first priority, however, must be to reduce emission levels as the most effective and secure way of delivering the UK's targets.
The Government aim to publish their Draft Climate Change Programme around the turn of the year. It will set out how the Government plan to meet their Kyoto target and move towards their domestic goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 20 per cent.